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The Fix: Soccer and Organized Crime (Anglais) Broché – 13 avril 2010

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At first, I was interested in the general issue of organized crime in soccer. I was particularly fascinated with the concept of image laundering, where a previously unknown gangster takes over a prominent club or links himself with a famous player and begins to transform himself from a “controversial businessman” to a “colourful businessman” to, when his team or player wins the championship, a “member of the establishment.” The most successful proponent of this skill was Joseph Kennedy, who had gone from a bootlegging scumbag supplying the mob with liquor in the midst of Prohibition in one generation to being the father of the president of the United States in the next. However, events overtook me. Some of the top teams in Europe were bought up by people so corrupt that you would hesitate to have your wife, son, or wallet within a hundred yards of them. Yet no one seemed to have stopped them.

However, I began to become interested in the subject of match-fixing. It was, in the words of one worried tennis executive I spoke to, “the ultimate threat to the credibility of the sport.”

I visited some of the world’s most famous soccer stadiums, teams, and games to see organized criminals in action. I investigated leagues where Chinese triads have fixed more than 80 per cent of the games; and I found that top international referees often get offered, and accept, “female bribes” before they arbitrate some of the biggest games in soccer.

When I first started giving lectures at Oxford, people were surprised to hear about the connections between organized crime and sport. I gave presentations at international conferences. I said publicly, and at some risk to myself because my research was not finished, that European sport leagues were facing a tsunami of match-fixing by Asian criminals. Few people wanted to believe it. Even fewer people seemed to want to do anything about it. It was mostly, as I will show, out of incompetence and racist ignorance. It was also because the factors that have given rise to this new wave of fixing are unprecedented and have never really been seen or studied before. But it was in small part because of a phenomenon that was recognized more than eighty years ago. It was supposed to have occurred during the scandal surrounding the trial of baseball’s Chicago White Sox. The team threw the 1919 World Series with the help of mobster Arnold Rothstein. One of their players was the clean-cut star “Shoeless” Joe Jackson. As Jackson came up to the courthouse, a little boy was supposed to have elbowed his way through the crowd, gazed up at his hero with big, clear, innocent eyes, and said, “Say it ain’t so, Joe. Just say it ain’t so.” The little boy represents the faith that we embody in our sporting heroes. We do not want to believe that human frailty lurks within them. We do not want to believe that
they, who can do what we cannot, would stoop to sully themselves. We do not want to believe, when so much in our lives is so corrupt, that the garden of innocence that is supposed to be sport could also be corrupt.

In my journey I did find real heroes: people who have attempted to clean up the world’s “beautiful game.” They have, for the most part, been marginalized, stamped on, or silenced. Their stories are littered throughout this book: failed journalists, dead referees, ignored players. I will also introduce you to some of the fixers, criminals, and con men who corrupt the sport. Whenever possible I have tried to allow the criminals to speak for themselves, using verbatim transcripts of either their interviews or covertly recorded conversations. The work has, at times, been difficult and dangerous. For that reason, in some places in the text, I have changed the locations of the interviews and the names of both the innocent and the guilty. (The first time that I introduce someone whose name has been changed, I will place an asterisk beside it in the text.) I have done that to protect myself and my interview subjects from all the dangers that a reader can imagine.

I have also tried to show the results of my research at the university. Woven through the journey, I try to explain
how soccer players and referees actually perform in fixed games, the structure and mechanics of illegal gambling syndicates, why relatively rich and high-status athletes would fix games, why club officials decide to try to bribe the opposition, how clubs go about doing it, how they get referees “on their side” and how, I believe, Asian gambling fixers have successfully entered the game and fixed top international matches. I found that many of these underlying criminal mechanics are not only found in soccer. Really, the methods, manners, and motivations of the fixers could work for almost any other team sport, be it hockey, basketball, or baseball. Consequently, I have put in examples from other sports to show the similarities. Understand how gambling fixers work to corrupt a soccer game and you will understand how they move into a basketball league, a cricket tournament, or a tennis match (all places, by the way, that criminal fixers have moved into).

My views on soccer have changed. I still love the Saturday-morning game between amateurs: the camaraderie and the fresh smell of grass. But the professional game leaves me cold. I hope you will understand why after reading the book. I think you may never look at sport in the same way again.

From the Hardcover edition.

Revue de presse

“Declan has written a well-researched book of investigative journalistic brilliance. A book that deals with the unseen and often shadowy world of soccer’s match-fixing. . . . A world the authorities try to ignore; the effects of its existence swept under the carpet in the name of preserving the game’s image.”
–Shaka Hislop, ESPN soccer commentator and former English Premier League and World Cup goalkeeper

"Fascinating. . . . Part true-crime potboiler, part spy thriller, part academic discourse and part journey of personal discovery."
— Stephen Brunt, Globe and Mail

"A powerful investigative work…. The Fix is a fascinating read."
Ottawa Citizen

"Sensationa…. Fascinating…. [Hill] makes a good case."
Winnipeg Free Press

"An explosive book."
Daily Mail

"Declan Hill literally takes his life into his own hands…. [He] presents convincing evidence that even games in the 2006 World Cup in Germany were fixed…. Read this book and you'll second guess every referee's dodgy call."
Replay magazine

From the Hardcover edition.

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Détails sur le produit

  • Broché: 416 pages
  • Editeur : McClelland & Stewart; Édition : Reprint (13 avril 2010)
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ISBN-10: 077104139X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0771041396
  • Dimensions du produit: 15,3 x 2,2 x 22,9 cm
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 4.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (2 commentaires client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: 180.576 en Livres anglais et étrangers (Voir les 100 premiers en Livres anglais et étrangers)
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Format: Broché Achat vérifié
This book is about corruption in the football world.

It's a review of a long-term investigation made by Declan Hill through a decades at the 4 corner of the world.

It explains very well how things work and how strings are pulled. Power is at the center of this book.

Unfortunately, a lot of those information were already "common rumors" (Asian championships, Eastern European championships, second-zone competitions ...) and this book brings just a couple of more 5-stars information (above all on the FIFA world cup).

To summarize, Chapter 1 and 2 are interested to understand the process of corruption, and the last chapter to see a practical example on 3 main FIFA world cup matchs ! In-between, the author repeats a lot the same ideas, bringing his personal life a bit too much in front of the scene.
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Par EGUTIERREZ le 1 août 2011
Format: Broché
It all started with a murder, since the beginning the book grabs you and you carry on reading till you find out that there are more into soccer that one can even could think about.
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 21 commentaires
22 internautes sur 23 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
The only way to know is to read this book 15 septembre 2008
Par Hnin Dehn - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
I started reading this book on Sunday night, and I finished it on Monday night. I ate this book up like a hungry lover of the most beautiful game in the world; hungry for information, hungry for nostalgia but most of all, hungry for the truth. Declan Hill has written a book which is astounding in all its parts; the meticulous research, skill in following leads, tying up various and diverse pieces of information, a thorough and intelligent analysis of the game, the power structures of corruption, the legal obstacles and the people. Not only is his writing fluid and his reasoning logical, it is also accessible. He presents a highly complex subject in plain English which allows the reader to follow him on a journey around the world in concrete, rational and credible steps, to reach his or her own conclusion. This book does not tell you what to think, it gives you the information, and the freedom to do so.
15 internautes sur 19 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
The Tip of the Iceberg: 'The Fix: Soccer & Organized Crime' by Declan Hill 5 mai 2009
Par Ivor S. Irwin - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
'The Fix: Soccer & Organized Crime' by Declan Hill***

To anybody who really follows the game of football/soccer, this book is no surprise. Historically, Hill, normally an investigative television producer/journo, gives the reader a good sense as to how lowly-paid players (before worldwide broadcasting brought hundreds of millions in cash to the game) were always susceptible to bribery from bookmakers and various gangsters. Nowadays, Hill shows, in a pretty much indisputable way, that match fixing in soccer is even more widespread, including matches at the World Cup level.

The fixers Hill discusses come from Asia, where betting on all sports is almost a fanatical religion. The vulnerable teams he discusses are from poor nations, usually in Africa, where player salaries are low. They are soft targets. Hill concentrates on Ghana's Jekyll and Hyde performance at the 2006 World Cup. This part of the book is very disturbing and definitely effective. Hill names, Stephen Appiah, a former midfielder for Italy's Juventus and Turkey's Fenerbahce clubs. Appiah, a young player in his pomp, once touted to be Patrick Veiera's successor at English powerhouse club, Arsenal, was freed from his contract by Fenerbahce as a result of his snitching. Indeed, since talking to Hill and the release of this book, Appiah's hopes of catching on with another big European club have thus far disappeared. It seems that both Hill and Appiah are high on FIFA President Sepp Blatter's mierda list.

Hopefully, this should help Hill sell lots of books. Hill surely had Blatter tearing what little hair he has left when describing contacts between fixers and players beginning at FIFA youth tournaments which theoretically 'promote' the ever developing game. FIFA, which is the ruling body for the professional game, a worldwide organization that rules with a kind of heavy-handed greed and secrecy that can't help but remind you of the mafia, does not come off well in this book. Hill nails the organization bang to rights. Unfortunately, Hill, who took on the Russian Vor ve Zakonye (a worldwide gangster organization) when he exposed their corruption of the NHL in some sterling work for the CBC, stops short here. A vague threat from ethnic Chinese gangsters to hurt or kill him is stated implicitly, but the full story hinted at is never quite told.

At the same time Italian football has always been corrupt. Massive scandals involving players, club directors, general managers, organized crime figures and even the prime-minister, Silvio Berlusconi, who owns A.C. Milan and the lion's share of Scudetto (Italian League) television rights. German Bundesliga games have also been fixed. A certain English striker, once a star for a top four English premiership team and a major Spanish club, has been banished from the England national squad for making and taking bets recently. With the hundreds of millions in laundered oil and drug cash floating around the game in Europe and hard rumors of Interpol catching the 2008 EUFA Cup Final, one gets the sense that Mr. Hill knows a lot more than he lots on!

One problem Hill has here is the narrative first-person stylings he uses spasmodically to move things along and make himself into the hero investigative journo. Hill is repeatedly 'shocked' to find gambling going on around him, so that it gets silly after a while. I'm reminded of Claude Rains' policeman raiding Rick's mini-casino in 'Casablanca.' Hill plays up his narrator/self as a mirror of the naïve boy who used to watch Arsenal games at Highbury as a teenager with his dad and stops to cry for himself. Nevertheless, he seems to have forgotten that the Arsenal team which featured the beautiful trickery of Liam Brady also played Spiv thugs like Peter Storey, Peter Simpson and Frank McClintock. 'The Fix' is a good read, but Hill has barely scratched the surface. Be sure to read it, but follow it up with a far, far better book on the way corruption in the game actually works, "Broken Dreams' by Tom Bower. Hill concentrates on soft targets in Asia and Africa. Next time, perhaps, he'll go after the Big Game.
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Enlightening and Educational Research About Match Fixing 8 novembre 2008
Par Steve Amoia - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
Declan Hill is a distinguished Canadian investigative journalist, film maker, academic scholar, and television news anchor. Dr. Hill specializes in organized crime and international issues. He was a Chevening Scholar at Green College, University of Oxford, where his doctoral dissertation was on match-fixing in professional football (soccer).

Dr. Hill spent four years on this highly acclaimed, compelling, and well-researched book that has already been translated into several languages. No doubt, many more will follow in the future. For this project, he interviewed over two hundred people: Professional gamblers, Mafia hitmen, undercover policemen, top-level international soccer players, referees, and officials.

"I met men who claim they have bribed their way into changing the results of some of the biggest games in the sport."

In my opinion, this is a very entertaining and informative book. Part travel guide, instructional manual, and study into human nature, it is full of interesting characters and anecdotes. Dr. Hill, in great detail and with an engaging writing style, takes us around the world of match fixing.

Whether or not you appreciate the global sport of soccer, if you have an interest to learn about the influence of sports betting in professional sports, you will find this a very enlightening read.

Please Note

I received a complimentary review copy of this book. I was not monetarily compensated by any party that would benefit from a positive review.
4 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Fix this book please 17 mars 2012
Par D. M. Kemp - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
After hearing several interviews of Mr. Hill, I decided to get his book and give it a go. Unfortunately, I was disappointed with it. It is not the content or the background or the investigative nature of the book. What makes this so hard to read is that it lacks some 'glue' to keep it all together. It is almost as if Mr. Hill had so many concepts, notes, stories, etc, all running around in his head that he couldn't keep focus long enough to tell a cohesive story.

There is rampant fixing of games in the soccer world. We've seen many convictions in Italy and the Far East. As more and more money comes piling into these leagues, betters are putting higher and higher stakes on the outcomes. It does seem that the well-paid leagues are perhaps slightly above the fray. However, I don't expect it will be much longer before they also succumb at some level to match fixing.

Mr. Hill has all the facts and stories to prove out what is happening to the beautiful game. He goes through excruciating detail of the leagues, the problems, and even offers up possible solutions. Unfortunately, he needed a much better editor. It is almost like reading 10+ research articles all cobbled together on the same subject. There is no cohesiveness to the reader. The subjects jump back and forth and leave you wondering what was the point.

o detailed research on match fixing
o excellent coverage of the world-wide game
o practical solutions that FIFA should deploy immediately

o poorly written
o difficult to follow

Overall - this is a book to skim. Mr. Hill is much better in interviews and I would recommend finding one of them instead of enduring this book. However, if you are really interested in the facts behind the fixing, he has them here for you.
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Corruption in FIFA? 25 février 2011
Par Alex McCoy - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
Okay, we all know FIFA is a very corrupt place. However, Hill takes a look at the growing influence of gambling on the beautiful game. There is no master scheme to be revealed but he does show how gamblers use former players to gain access and then bribe their way into results they can manipulate. All the "evidence" is told to us about former games and Hill has never correctly explained any future results so at best it is just hearsay evidence that games have been fixed. It is very well written and a good read, but not something that is going to cause a revolution in the game.
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